Many studies have shown that working out to music can have a number of positive effects and help us to push ourselves further. Music is also strongly linked to personal memories and hearing certain tracks can transport us to a particular moment in time. In this occasional series of posts, I’d like to introduce some of my favourite tracks from my workout playlist and share some of the memories they have given me.
On a Mission – Gabriella Cilmi
Whenever I’m asked for my favourite running track, this is my immediate answer. My attachment to this one goes all the way back to the pre-blog days of 2010 and my first marathon. I was just a few weeks into training and reaching the point where every long run represented the furthest I’d ever run, when I headed out for my first 16 miler. I had barely even begun when I realised that something was wrong and decided to abort the run and hobble back to my car. A trip to the physio confirmed my worst fears: an injury. Tendonitis of the ankle to be precise, and running was out for the foreseeable future.
The thing is, that first marathon was to be Paris. Flights were booked, accommodation was booked, Steve was also signed up to run and we were most definitely going. Rather than give up all hope, I decided to cross train and see if I could make that start line. I put in HOURS on the elliptical machine at the gym – I even tested out gels on there! – and kept up my fitness as best I could, eventually adding short treadmill runs into the mix.
And it was during that time of dogged determination to keep on training, despite countless people telling me there was no way I could complete a marathon without running at least one 20 miler, that I heard this track on the radio. It instantly spoke to me with that perfect mixture of upbeat tempo and motivational lyrics that is the staple of my workout playlist. Almost every line seemed to sum up how I was feeling and gave me the motivation to keep on going:
“It’s time for me to make a move
And I know what I gotta do
‘Cause I got everything to prove
I got a plan I’m sticking to”
It saw me through my training, and my iPod managed to select it somewhere deep into the marathon – which I DID finish! – around the 17/18 mile mark when I needed it most. By this point, it had become “my” song.
“I am a woman on a mission, woah
Nothing can stop me, I’m stronger than ever
I wanna see this through
I am a woman on a mission, woah
Whatever it takes I will do what I gotta do”
This track remains a permanent feature of my playlist, and whenever I hear it I feel that surge of adrenaline to push on with a smile on my face. If I’m running, I’ll probably speed up, and if I’m working out in the gym, I’ll dig in and try even harder with whatever exercise I’m doing. This track even won me a prize this time last year when I noticed a Facebook competition from Tribesports asking us to tell them about our favourite running track and why we liked it. I told a shorter version of my story, and won the competition! Appropriately enough, the prize was a set of Jabra Sport Rox wireless earphones for me to continue enjoying my favourite running track (and many others). Just one more reason for this track to retain its special place in my heart.
You can read more of my thoughts on running and music here.
Please note that under UK Athletics rules, racing with headphones whilst on open roads is banned. If you choose to train with headphones, please be careful and make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times.
Feel free to share your favourite workout tracks in the comments below…